by Sven Davison
During the past ten years, there has been a seismic shift in how society consumes information and entertainment. Smartphones, podcasts, social media, and streaming video have fractured the landscape. Thankfully, you and I still enjoy the more traditional method of communication through the written word. That’s why we’re both here. However, having worked in Hollywood for over two decades, I understand the value of connecting a voice and a face to an entertainer and using new technology to do so.
Have you ever watched an HBO special on the making of a film? Or a documentary on a favorite subject? Most likely you have. And how did that experience give you a new perspective on a subject you might have already read about?
Humans are social creatures. Our very nature compels us to interact, or at the very least, obtain impressions through more than just one of our five senses. Because of this, I believe reaching an audience through audio and video is essential to creating a deeper relationship with your reader. In other words, you need to tempt your audience to read your work by wooing them with more than just your written words.
At the beginning of 2017, I started watching a plethora of author vlogs (video blogs) on YouTube in order to garner a sense of what writers were doing. They were all the same: talking heads giving writing advice to the viewer. Many were dull, but some were highly entertaining and those had a plethora of subscribers.
I did not want to duplicate this formula for two reasons. First, I felt that unless I was a best selling author with a long pedigree of books, I should not be giving advice. That is what the YouTube subscription channel “Master Class” is for. Second, I knew that there was no single path to success, nor was there a single path for an artist to take when they dive into their particular niche, and I wanted to hear those stories.
Drawing upon my ten-years experience overseeing the content department at Twentieth Century Fox, I created my YouTube channel Author/Author, a place where writers could talk about their personal experiences, their books, and give advice. It would be a place where authors could speak directly to their audience and connect on a personal level. It would also be a place where anyone interested in writing could learn from people who work in this business and gain insight about the vast complexities that keep this ecosystem running.
A Free Virtual Writers’ Conference
I saw Author/Author as a writer’s conference for those who could not afford to go to one, or were curious but did not want to make a three-day commitment. And yet, it would not compete with writers conferences because a YouTube channel cannot offer the networking component, which is the most important aspect of attending a conference.
I started shooting in April of 2017 with three best-selling authors and one indie author. I wanted to learn about their path to success, and what it was like climbing their specific ladder. After posting the videos in May, one of the spotlight authors, Steven Rowley, garnered over two thousand views within ten days. I was on to something and contacted more authors.
To date, I have interviewed eighteen writers. I’ve also been talking with editors, agents, and publishers. The reception from those I have interviewed has been extremely positive and I’ve learned a great deal from sitting down and having one-on-one conversations with fellow scribes and industry folks. It has been a great experience and one that is beneficial to all involved. It’s also something that is archived for all the public to view for the foreseeable future.
As I grow, I’ll probably vlog my own experiences and curate more playlists into genre, advice, and publishing tips. For now, I’m enjoying the company of my spotlight authors and offering a service to help them break out beyond the proverbial insular bubbles.
Sven Michael Davison is the author of Blockbuster, a satirical look at action films and the people who make them. He has also penned The God Head Trilogy, a post-cyberpunk tale that examines the darker side of singularity theory, mass effect, and artificial intelligence.
Sven spent many years in Hollywood trying to break into screenwriting while writing trailer copy for movies like Beavis and Butthead Do America and The Relic. He then launched the DVD Production and Content Group for Twentieth Century Fox and spent ten years managing the department where he was responsible for all special features on DVD, Blu-ray, and UMD media.
In addition to hosting the YouTube channel Author/Author, Sven is close to releasing a memoir about traveling to all seven continents in seven years as well as putting the finishing touches on a contemporary fantasy trilogy.
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